Agenda item

RAF Scampton Feasibility Study

(To receive a report by the Head of Regeneration which provides the Committee with a summary of the findings of the RAF Feasibility Summary recently completed for Lincolnshire County Council and The Royal Air Force by Focus Consultants)


Consideration was given to a report which provided a summary of the findings of the RAF Scampton Feasibility Study which had been recently completed for Lincolnshire County Council and the Royal Air Force by Focus consultants.


The Committee welcomed Wing Commander Richard Turner, Station Commander of RAF Scampton to the meeting.


It was reported that RAF Scampton was one of six operational RAF bases in Lincolnshire, and was one of the largest concentrations of employment within the district of West Lindsey, supporting approximately 800 jobs, both military and civilian.  It was one of the oldest and possibly most famous within the RAF portfolio as the original home of 617 Squadron, the Dambusters.


The Committee was informed that the future of RAF Scampton within the RAF had been uncertain for some time, and discussions with senior officers within the RAF identified that there was a great deal of affection for the base.  As a result a joint feasibility study was commissioned which encompassed the following elements:


·         How the base (ground and airspace) could be reused if the RAF were to withdraw either later in the decade or further into the future;

·         How could a shared military/civilian use be developed to reduce operating costs for the RAF and make an increasing cost to the Lincolnshire economy;

·         To raise the level of debate regarding the future of RAF Scampton within RAF High Command, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation and the MOD;


It was reported that the Feasibility Study had presented a credible model for the development of a major new aviation heritage attraction at RAF Scampton which would be able to sit alongside the existing scale of military use and would be flexible enough to work with a greater or lesser RAF presence.  The Committee was advised that five key stories had been identified which could be told through the site, and these were The First World War, The Dambusters, Coldwar Standoff, The Red Arrows, Aircraft Innovation in Lincolnshire, and an frequently updated exhibition focused on 'Fly-in' exhibits e.g. BBMF.


Members of the Committee were provided with the opportunity to ask questions to the officers present in relation to the information contained within the report and some of the points raised during discussion included the following:

·         It was likely that RAF Scampton would remain open as an RAF base until the end of the decade.  There was a lot more of a positive outlook towards the base now, compared to a couple of years previously;

·         The next phase would be to get the County Council to engage with The Defence Infrastructure Organisation at a high level to look at the strategic business plan;

·         The RAF was a big part of Lincolnshire, and there was a lot of heritage within the County;

·         There could be a huge demand for this kind of attraction as approximately 170,000 people attended the Waddington Air Show each year;

·         A new attraction would need to fit within the context of what already existed in the County;

·         The presented model had very good potential, both as a heritage attraction and also to secure the future of the RAF base;

·         It was estimated that the total investment required for the complete plan was £80million, of that total £40million would be required to complete the first phase, which was the two hangers and the exhibition hall.  It was noted that this figure did not include any money the RAF would need to invest in their own facilities;

·         It was hoped that a decision on whether this proposal would go ahead would be made within about six months;

·         Every time the RAF spent money to improve the infrastructure of the base, it became more attractive in terms of remaining as an RAF base and also the possibility of becoming a heritage attraction.


The Committee was highly supportive of the model which was proposed by the feasibility study, and thanked the Station Commander for attending the meeting.




            That the findings of the Feasibility Study be noted, and that the proposed next step        actions be supported.




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